ORONOCO. I delight in the way those “o”s roll off the tongue. Smooth. Repetitious. Like a steady drum beat.
But I’d never been to Oronoco, only seen the exit signs to this community off U.S. Highway 52 five miles north of Rochester. Time to change that, to visit this place named after the Orinoco River in South America. (And, yes, the spelling of Orinoco is correct.)
On a recent Saturday, my husband and I wound our way into this small town, home of Oronoco Gold Rush Days, an antique show and market held on the third weekend in August since 1972. That’s a long-standing event, its name tracing to the apparent discovery of gold here in the late 1850s and the establishment of the Oronoco Mining Company. That mining venture didn’t last long as the raging Zumbro River washed away the gold mining operation. Apparently little gold was found.
Historic buildings define the heart of this quaint river community. We did a quick drive through downtown and stopped only to browse two highway side antique shops as the day shifted toward evening.
Oronoco seems worth a return trip to poke around more, to see what we missed.
© Copyright 2015 Audrey Kletscher Helbling